Topic: Robert Wood

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(William) Robert Wood (born 13 November 1949) is a UK-born Australian who was elected to the Australian Parliament in the 1987 elections as Senator for New South Wales.

Robert Wood was born at Gateshead in England. His father was an English steelworker; his mother was Italian. The family emigrated to Australia in 1963 as assisted passage migrants. Wood studied social work in both Sydney and Melbourne, and had a career as a youth and social worker prior to becoming a member of parliament. However, he was unemployed at the time of his election, with one newspaper suggesting he was 'probably the only Member of Parliament to have been elected while on the dole'. Wood has two children.

Wood was a member of the Nuclear Disarmament Party (NDP), and was its candidate at the NSW Vaucluse by-election in 1986. The NDP had failed narrowly to win a Senate seat in the 1984 federal election, when Midnight Oil singer Peter Garrett had stood under the party's banner. In 1987, the party had a lower profile, and Wood was at the head of its NSW Senate ticket. Though the party received only 1.53 per cent of the vote, Wood was elected as a result of preference flows from other parties, and the quota being nearly halved due to a double dissolution election for all Senate seats. This was the lowest primary vote ever received by a successful minor party or independent candidate in an Australian Senate election.

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